“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Proverbs 14:1

I have been foolish. I have failed. I have torn down my house with my own hands (& my own words).  Two things that pushed my buttons last week: direct disobedience & sibling rivalry.

Each request I made, whether said gently or harshly, was met with defiance (remember mr. “no want to”). I corrected: “I need you to obey me! I want things to go well for you. Children obey your parents, for this is right.”

When I was busy feeding the baby I would hear my sons arguing & hurting each other. I corrected: “Treat each other special! Honor your brother!”

When I had to re-schedule the baby’s doctor’s appointment, it meant bringing all the boys & being shut in a tiny examination room, which magnified their disobedience, disrespect & harshness. (my 2 1/2 yr old kicked & hit the doctor, turned off & on the lights despite my requests to stop. Then the middle two boys were wrestling on the floor while the nurse tried 3 different times to get blood from my sweet newborn’s heel. Then a tantrum & a fight between brothers over a silly band.)

By Friday, after lunch but before naps, I was completely done. Once again I was feeding the baby & once again the boys were fighting & saying hurtful things. I snapped.

I sent each boy to a different bedroom. The two-year-old responded with his standard “no want to”. My tone escalated. With each of his refusals to my requests, my blood boiled hotter. Finally I laid the newborn down, grabbed the toddler, stomped up the stairs, not-so-gently placed him in his crib & slammed the door.

As I sat in the chair feeding the baby the Holy Spirit stirred in me.

How can I keep asking them to “treat each other special” when I just did the complete opposite? How can I ask them to obey when I completely disobeyed the Lord’s command to “Love one another” & to display the Spiritual fruit of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, & self control”?

I know that I need to apologize. I know I need to ask for forgiveness.

But how can I? AGAIN!

Throughout the pregnancy I would get more frustrated than normal, respond harshly & then ask for forgiveness.

How many times can I fail & ask for forgiveness before they give up on me?

I know that we can keep asking God for forgiveness & He will welcome us with open arms. But human beings are imperfect & we get bruised & we stop trusting people when they continually hurt us.

Then I remember an example the director of my son’s school told us. He said to imagine there is a string connecting your heart to your child’s heart. We may do things or say things that break that string. Your child will be hurt. That relationship is affected…

BUT we have the chance to re-tie that heart string. To go to that child and ask for forgiveness. To be intentional about reconciling.

Re-tying heart strings.

I gather the 3 boys together. I get on my knees at their eye-level. I tell them that I made a big, big mistake. That I keep asking them to treat each other special & I have forgotten to treat them special. I ask for forgiveness. I tell them that I know I ask for forgiveness a lot.

I remind them of the story in the Bible:

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22

..meaning as many times as they ask.

I will continue to fail. I will break more heart strings. BUT I will continue to ask for forgiveness. I will continue to be in the business of re-tying heart strings.

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